Top Car Care Tips for Winter
advice | Weather | February 9, 2016
This post sponsored by ACDelco. Our friends at ACDelco provide all the parts and services you need to keep your car running smoothly and reliably year-round.
I live in the Midwest, so wintertime can really do a number on cars around here. Between the extreme temperatures, road salt, and potholes, vehicles can really take a beating. Never mind the safety issues with driving in the snow, slush and ice. While you can’t do anything to change the weather, you can do some things to make sure your car and its occupants remain happy and safe during the harsh winter months.
Check your windshield wipers and fluids
There’s nothing worse than being stuck in a snowstorm, and finding out that your wiper blades won’t clear your windshield, or your washer fluid is so low that you can’t clear the road grime and salt off. And never use water in your washer fluid tank. It will freeze. It’s recommended that you change your wiper blades at least once a year- or twice a year if you get a lot of snow and ice. Consider using ACDelco Advantage all-season blades for maximum windshield cleaning power.
Lift windshield wipers before the storm
It’s a common sight here in Chicago, but people often forget to flip their wipers up off of their windshield the night before a winter storm hits. It’s a huge timesaver if your park outdoors, compared to trying to pry your wiper blades off your windshield when you head out to work in the morning.
Check your brakes
While your car’s drivetrain is important, your brakes are the one thing that stands between you and an accident. Stopping distances are far worse in snow and ice, and worn discs, drums, calipers, or low brake fluid can severely impede your ability to stop. I highly recommend having your brakes checked twice a year – when you have your tires rotated.
Pack a safety/survival kit
You never know when you’ll get stranded in the winter. Every car trunk should have a kit with first aid supplies, and a few other items like a flashlight, blanket, scissors, basic tools, and some long shelf life snacks. I also recommend keeping a couple of bottles of water in there too. If you live somewhere that snows, you’ll also want a windshield scraper, snow brush, kitty litter (for traction), and a small shovel if you’ve got the room.
Check your battery
Extreme weather is really hard on batteries. I recommend having your mechanic check your battery, alternator, and belts at least once a year, to ensure they’re charging properly. While most of us forget, car batteries typically last just 4 to 6 years, so you should consider proactively replacing your battery in the fall, every 3 to 4 years. The ACDelco Professional Gold is a great choice, and comes with a 42 month replacement limited warranty.
Check and rotate your tires
No matter what you might think, car tires wear unevenly. You should have your tires rotated at least twice a year, and make sure your tires have a good amount of tread going into the winter months. Tires should at a bare minimum have 2/32″ tread depth, which you can check by sticking a penny into the tread upside-down.
If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to change your tires. Also, make sure your tires are properly inflated. Under or over-inflated tires can cause steering problems, and also can lead to punctures, and poor gas mileage.
Check all of your lights
Once a month, make sure that all of your interior and exterior lights are working properly. Double-check backup lights, your rear brake light, and headlights. While more and more cars are moving to long-lasting LED lamps, you can still have electrical problems, and many headlights still have fairly short lives.
Last but not least… Drop the distractions
Winter driving requires even more attention than other times of year. Roads can turn dangerous quickly, with slick spots, longer stopping distances, and disabled vehicles. While you should never be putting on makeup, checking text messages, or futzing with the nav system while in motion, it’s especially critical when the weather is bad.
While you can perform many of the basic items on this checklist yourself, those less mechanically-inclined should take your car in to a certified mechanic. ACDelco offers both certified mechanics across the country, as well as high quality OEM parts for maintenance, including wipers, batteries, filters, belts and hoses, spark plugs, and much more. You can find your nearest ACDelco location here,
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of ACDelco. The opinions and text are all mine.